Hywel Dda UHB leading the way to reduce the carbon footprint of inhalers

Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) is leading the way in Wales and the UK in supporting people to switch to more environmentally friendly inhalers and reduce their carbon footprint.

Inhalers contain essential medicines that help people with asthma, COPD, and other lung conditions.

However, up to 80% of inhalers prescribed in the UK use propellants that are powerful greenhouse gases that are thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide. They are safe to the person using them, but impact climate change as the single largest contributor to the NHS’s carbon emissions of any medicine.

The good news is there are modern inhalers that are just as good for most people but are much kinder to the world because they don’t contain greenhouse gases. These come in two different types, dry powder inhalers and soft mist inhalers.

Currently across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, the percentage of dry powder inhalers prescribed is at 48.7%, the highest now in the UK following a big push from nurses, pharmacists, doctors and especially patients this year.

Hywel Dda UHB is also the fastest changer in Wales with no increase in respiratory problems. The NHS Wales target is a shift to 80% of dry powder inhalers by 2025, so there is still some way to go.

Professor Keir Lewis Chair of the Inhaler Working Group and Clinical Respiratory Lead at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We’re proud to be leading the way in reducing the environmental impact of inhaler prescribing.

“One single metered dose inhaler has the same carbon footprint as driving a family car from Llanelli to London, but the dry powder ones are the same as driving to Neath.”

Clinical studies have shown dry powder inhalers to be equally effective and cost effective as metered dose inhalers.

Across the NHS, there is a drive to reduce CO2 emissions produced by the prescribing of inhalers for respiratory conditions – in line with the NHS Wales Decarbonisation Strategic Delivery Plan, and to support the ambition for a net zero NHS.

Professor Lewis added: “While swapping to a more environmentally friendly inhaler helps to reduce climate change, for those who can’t use the dry powder inhalers it is still important to make your inhaler work as well as possible and your healthcare professional will support you with this. This means taking it every day, as prescribed, and with the right inhaler technique.

“Managing your lung condition well also means you’ll use fewer inhalers overall, which will help to reduce the carbon footprint of inhalers.”

Switching to lower carbon alternatives as prescribers is a part of Hywel Dda UHB’s wider efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

The NHS in Wales spends more than £74 million on inhalers each year so it is important that people only order the inhalers they need. Wasted inhalers not only cost money but are also harmful to the environment.

If you would like more information, speak to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist, sign up to the Health Hub or call the Asthma and Lung UK help line on 0300 22 25 800 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Please donate here: Support Carmarthenshire News Online Thank you for supporting independent journalism and contributing to the future of local news in Carmarthenshire. Carmarthenshire News Online has been dedicated to providing unbiased and trustworthy news, free from commercial or political influence. By donating as little as £1, you can help ensure the continuation of this important source of information for the community. Your contribution will have a significant impact on the sustainability of independent journalism. If you're looking to enhance your brand's visibility, we also offer advertising opportunities on our Livestream and podcasts. Our special offers provide excellent value for reaching our engaged audience. To learn more about these opportunities and to discuss your advertising needs, please feel free to call or text us at 07308598604. Thank you again for your support, and together we can ensure the availability of quality local news for Carmarthenshire and beyond.

Please donate here: Support Carmarthenshire News Online

You cannot copy any content of this page